Cranky Weekly Review Presented by San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport: Lufthansa Says “Ciao,” Southwest’s Poison Pill

Cranky Weekly Review

Lufthansa’s Italian Folly Venture is a Go

Lufthansa received approval from the European Commission to move forward with its purchase of ITA Airways, provided the carrier keeps its word about proposed concessions in Italy and beyond.

The EC determined the two airlines primarily operate complementary route network that will not reduce competition in a manner that will be harmful to consumers, and that the merger will be beneficial for the long-term sustainability for ITA. Lufthansa is going to take a 41% stake in the carrier to start, with the transaction expected to close late this year. ITA will be integrated into the Lufthansa Group of carriers — with Lufthansa CityLine, Lufthansa City Airlines, Eurowings, Germanwings, and any other airline that may or may not exist in the group choosing to reserve comment.

The purchase for Lufthansa comes at the relatively cheap price of $350 million and likely will help smooth the way for its rival IAG’s eventual purchase of Air Europa. The merger will also cost Lufthansa a couple of short-haul routes within Europe, which it is expected to offer to either easyJet or Volotea, while also sending an additional number of slots at Milan/Linate to other LCC competitors.

Southwest Poisons its Own Well

Southwest Airlines introduced a shareholder rights plan — better known as a ‘poison pill’ — as a manner of telling Elliott Management where it can stick its potential hostile takeover of the airline.

Should Elliott — or anyone else for that matter — acquire 12.5% of the airline’s stock, all other shareholders would be given an opportunity to purchase additional shares at a 50% discount. Elliot’s ownership of WN stock is currently hovering around 11%, so the new plan hasn’t kicked in yet, but it’s getting dangerously close should it continue to add shares to its portfolio.

Elliott has criticized the carrier’s senior management and threatened to force a shakeup at the top, with its complaint centered around the fact that its stock has dropped more than 50% in the three years since the pandemic.

AA’s Flight AAttendant’s One Step Further from Strike

The National Mediation Board called both sides back to the bargaining table last weekend to AAttempt to find a deal between American Airlines and its FAs. While no deal was struck during these additional talks, the two sides did make progress as they strive to come to a consensus.

The union says it’s prepared for a strike, as it awaits declaration of a formal 30-day cooling off period it must observe before taking a labor action. The federal mediators sitting in on the negotiations are not keen to declare an impasse and allow the cooling off period to begin.

Meanwhile, the contract Alaska FAs agreed to a few weeks back saw it details go public for the first time this week, confirming a 32% raise, with first-year FAs seeing their salary rise from $24.95 an hour to $32. The contract also had the usual accompaniments, including 3% pay bumps in August of ’25 and ’26, 21 months of retro pay, improved per diem, and hazard pay when flying to Newark.

Avelo’s Orlando Bloodbath

Avelo Airlines is canceling nine routes from its map, six of which operated to Orlando, and eight of nine which fly to Florida, with Burbank to Brownsville being the only cancellation that did not touch the Sunshine State.

Five routes – Orlando to Dubuque, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, plus Raleigh/Durham to West Palm Beach and Wilmington (DE) to Sarasota were currently suspended but supposed to resume in November. The remaining four – Orlando to Binghamton, Brownsville, and Central Wisconsin, and Burbank to Brownville will end next month.

The cancellations mark market exits for Avelo from six of the destinations: Binghamton, Brownsville, Central Wisconsin, Dubuque, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, upsetting the tens of people who live in each of those cities.

New Pacific Gets a New CEO

All is not well in the Frontier State where CEO of Ravn Alaska and New Pacific Airways Rob McKinney parted ways with the carrier earlier this week in a decision that is somewhere between a resignation and firing, depending on who you ask. In his time at the helm, McKinney oversaw two airlines with three combined names, with New Pacific never really getting off the ground.

Ravn flies within Alaska, and it then had the idea to launch New Pacific – then called Northern Pacific — to serve as the Icelandair of the Pacific, using Anchorage as a connecting point between Asia and the United States. Instead, all we got were random flights from Ontario to Las Vegas, Reno, and occasionally Nashville.

In the meantime, the airline named Tom Hsieh as CEO which promptly caused Alaska to sever ties with the airline. The company now needs to figure out what it’s going to be moving forward while the rest of us have to figure out how we’re going to travel between Las Vegas and Southern California without New Pacific on the case.

  • Air Astana took delivery of a sparkly-new A320neo.
  • Air Canada will receive eight B737-8s next year.
  • Air France is expecting to have a less profitable summer this year due to the Olympics.
  • Air India is considering adding regional ops within India using ATRs.
  • AirAsiaX will fly between Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi beginning November 15.
  • Airlink is hoping to merge.
  • Alaska returned the Max 9 from its flight 1282 in January to Boeing today with seven of the aircraft’s eight doors intact.
  • American is purchasing 100 hydrogen-powered engines.
  • Avianca announced its plans to submit a confidential draft registration with the SEC for an IPO which doesn’t sound very confidential.
  • Brussels named for CEO Dieter “Scrabble” Vranckx as the new chairman of its board.
  • Cathay Pacific is increasing its weekly frequencies to both Brisbane and Perth.
  • Delta flight 136 from Detroit to Amsterdam was forced to divert to New York/JFK early Wednesday morning after it was determined that food intended for Basic Economy passengers was mistakenly catered for the entire Main Cabin.
  • Emirates will now begin operating its A350-900 on November 4.
  • Ethiopian began 4x weekly service to Warsaw.
  • Garuda Indonesia former CEO Emirsyah Satar will be sending the next eight years in the slammer.
  • Iskwew Air is an absolutely real airline that’s not made up and it just received a $1.3 million investment.
  • ITA will fly to Bangkok.
  • Korean will stop providing cabin services within the final 40 minutes of each flight, to which most U.S. carriers asked “what took you so long?”
  • Qantas is taking its B787 Dreamliner off its service between Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Riyadh Air says it will take to the air next year with the world’s fanciest business class.
  • SAS will allow it staff show their tattoos and wear sneakers while working.
  • Singapore Airlines CEO is a well-paying job.
  • Spirit named Fred Cromer its new CFO, effective Monday.
  • TAROM is leasing two B737 MAX to be delivered late next year.
  • Turkish ordered seven more B777 freighters.
  • United will send you a radar map to prove it’s telling the truth when your flight is delayed by weather now.
  • WestJet mechanics are going back to work.

Technically today, the day after July 4 isn’t a holiday. But with it being Friday and all, it’s good to see most Americans exercise their constitutional right today to take the fifth.

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8 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport: Lufthansa Says “Ciao,” Southwest’s Poison Pill

      1. A lot of media is pushing this “hurr durr Democratic cities have so much crime!” lately. You see it in particular for San Francisco, Chicago and New York/Newark.

    1. Cranky Weekly Review (and other posts on this blog) picking on Newark is an ongoing meme / “inside joke”, with insults directed at Newark nearly every week.

      The “tens of people in [small markets/airports]” line is another that gets used with some regularity, along with jokes about how negatively airlines view/treat those pax flying Basic Economy (see the bullet in this post about Delta’s flight 136, joking that spoiled food was fit for Basic Economy pax).

      I don’t interpret these lines/references as political or mean-spirited at all, and I don’t read into the lines or let them bother me (whether I agree with them or not). To me, lines like these are just part of the “cranky” attitude of Cranky Flier that gives this blog its unique voice.

      1. ^ He gets it. Anyone trying to read deep into the weeds on the weekly review to find some sort of political commentary needs to chill out. There are not coded political messages in everything you read in the world.

  1. Is there any word on whether ITA will be able to join the JV with UA/AC/LH group?

    I’ve seen reports that it was ruled out but also that it will be allowed.

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